Gainsborough store served with three-month closure notice.

Seized Vapes in a clear plastic bag

A shop found to be selling counterfeit, and non-duty-paid cigarettes has been ordered to close its doors for three months.

The closure order for The Toy Store at 114 Trinity Street, Gainsborough was granted at Lincoln Magistrates Court on 1 March 2024. It comes after Lincolnshire County Council’s Trading Standards and West Lindsey District Council Officers carried out a series of test purchases and raids there.  

The shop sold legal vapes to a sixteen-year-old child and a large quantity of illegal vapes were also seized from the store. It means the shop is unable to open its doors until 29 May 2024.

Leader of West Lindsey District Council Cllr Trevor Young said: 

“The Council aims to make the district a safe and vibrant place to live, work and socialise. One of the ways to support legitimate businesses is by targeting those involved in criminal activity.

“Shops selling dangerous and illegal products contribute nothing to the local community or economy and this sort of activity will be met head on. Agencies working together, sharing information, pooling resources and skills means we can make the maximum impact. It is important that we take joint action to stop businesses trading illegally. Criminal activity will never be acceptable.”

The closure order prohibits anyone from entering the shops for the three-month period other than emergency services or a person authorised to act on behalf of the emergency services. Anyone found breaching the order may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.

Kim Enderby, Senior Licensing and Community Safety Officer for West Lindsey District Council said the closure notice was the culmination of multi-agency work targeting the premises. He said: 

“All agencies involved had received intelligence that this store was involved in the sale of illicit cigarettes. Officers carried out a test purchase operation and were able to purchase illegal cigarettes in the store. Following this, the store was raided by Lincolnshire Trading Standards officers accompanied by officers and Lincolnshire Police, where a large quantity of illegal cigarettes was seized. 

“In further raids more cigarettes and illegal vapes were also recovered. Despite this proactive enforcement activity, the store continued selling the illicit products. We were able to purchase more illegal cigarettes on subsequent test purchases. Trading Standard then made the decision to apply for this closure order, which will immediately stop the activity at this store.”  

On the day that the closure notice was served on the store Trading Standards officers seized a further large quantity of illegal vapes.

Andy Wright Principal Trading Standards Officer at Lincolnshire County Council explained that the closure notices are an effective way of targeting criminal activity of this type. He said: 

“We applied for the closure order based on the evidence we had gathered that criminal activity was taking place on the premises. The magistrates granted the closure order for the maximum period allowed by the law - three months. However, the option of extending that by a further three months will be considered in future if necessary. 

“We will continue to work with the council and police in relation to this kind of illicit activity. Make no mistake these are not local traders making a few quid on the side. These are part of National Organised Crime Groups with links to more serious crime. If you have any information you feel may assist, we ask that you contact us.”

If you know anything about illegal tobacco products being sold in your community let us know - you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report online on the Crimestoppers website.

For the latest news on West Lindsey District Council visit our council news pages

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